The European Union

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The EU was founded in 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Europe was in ruins and had to be rebuilt. The new Europe was to be very different from the old one.

The governments of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg moved towards a more formally united Europe.

In 1957 they signed the Treaty of Rome, which set up the European Economic Community (EEC), now known as the European Union.

The EU has 25 member states, 10 of them since 2004, these are: Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic. Momentarily 3 countries apply for the entry to the European Union: Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

? Free movement of people ? Free movement of goods and services ? Free movement of labour Further the member states agreed to do the following: ? Removal of all trade barriers between member countries ? All EU members have the same external tariffs ? Co-ordination and common policies in the fields of agriculture, defence policy, economic policies, foreign trade, social affairs, etc.

In spring 1998 the European Council decides which member states formed part of the currency union (Euro). All member states have to comply with the convergence criteria which were set out in the Treaty of Maastricht. The five points were inflation, interest rates, national budget deficit, national debt and exchange rate. 2002 the single currency was introduced.

It shall become a world currency.

In February 1992 twelve member states signed the Treaty of Maastricht (treaty of economic, monetary and political union). The commitment of the Treaty of Maastricht was for example: ? To create a European Central Bank ? To adopt a single currency ? To adopt a joint foreign and security policy ? To promise more money to Spain, Ireland, Greece and Portugal, the Community s poorest members.

The EU institutions are: ? The European Commission ? The European Parliament ? The Council of Minister ? The Court of Justice ? The European Council ? The Economic and Social Committee The referendum for the entry of Austria took place in 1994, it was a clear decision by a 2/3 majority, when they were asked to join the European Union.

Only 39 per cent would still vote for the EU now.

The agreement declined because only some prices for basic farm commodities got reduced (as promised by the Austrian politicians), prices on most other goods remained at their old level or rose. The Austrian population is disappointed by the fact that many consumer goods are cheaper in neighbouring EU countries so they travel regularly to foreign towns. Achievements and Problems 1) Achievements: Each member country stopped charging taxes on imported goods which helped to create: ? A large home market, ? cheaper goods, ? a wider range of goods, and ? a ...

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